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FareShare Fun Fact   1: Walnuts

FareShare Fun Fact   2:  Tree Sap (Syrups)

FareShare Fun Fact   3:  Potatoes

FareShare Fun Fact   4: Chocolate!

FareShare Fun Fact   5: Tea

FareShare Fun Fact   6: Bananas and Plantains

FareShare Fun Fact   7: Flavoured Alcohols

FareShare Fun Fact   8: Papaya

FareShare Fun Fact   9: Yams or Sweet Potatoes?

FareShare Fun Fact 10: Sandwiches

FareShare Fun Fact 11:  The Amazing Cucumber


Please note:  To the best of our knowledge, information contained in  our "Fun Facts" at the time of publication is accurate.  However, we cannot guarantee absolute correctness.

Other Food Information:

Fun Facts:  Herbs and Spices

FareShare Educational Segment

"The Recipe Book
a poem by
Karen Shaw Matteson

FareShare Fun Fact 1: Walnuts

Walnuts contain a lot of omega-3 polyunsaturated lineolic acid; as a result they are nutritionally valuable but as with all nuts with a high oil content, they go rancid quickly so must be stored where it is cold and dark. There are 6 genera and 40 species in the walnut family; the one most commonly found on store shelves is the English or Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.). In Hawaii this walnut, along with several others, has been found to do well and bear nuts at altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 feet but will not bear at lower altitudes.

The Greeks were familiar with it four centuries before Christ and near the end of the fourth century A.D. the Romans had cultivated it throughout Europe.

One ounce/28 grams (approximately 14 halves) of dried English walnuts contains 182 calories, 1 g water, 4.1 g protein, 5.2 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g dietary fiber, 17.6 g fat, 1.6 g saturated fatty acids, 4.0 g monounsaturated fatty acids, 11.1 g polyunsaturated fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol.

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FareShare Fun Fact 2:  Tree Sap (Syrups)

Some tropical palms yield a much higher source of sugar than other trees. The sap of the Asian sugar palm can contain 12% sucrose while the sap of the sugar maple may only yield 3% and the birch about 1%.   Coconut, date, sago and oil palms are not as productive as the sugar palm but much more productive than maple and birch. The syrup from several species of agave can contain approximately 70% fructose and 20% glucose so this syrup tastes sweeter than most others.

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FareShare Fun Fact 3:  Potatoes

The potato belongs to the very large Solonaceae family which contains plants used for food, medicinal and ornamental purposes.  Other members of the family include tomato, eggplant, peppers (hot and sweet), tomatillo, ground cherry (aka husk tomato or poha), belladonna, nightshade, mandrake as well as the familiar petunia. The potato we grow in our gardens and find on our grocery shelves is the Solanum tuberosum whose origins are South and Central America. Spanish explorers brought it to Europe around the middle of the 1500's. Since then it has become a very important food throughout many parts of the world. Jacques Pepin, in his " La Technique", suggests that potatoes were probably the greatest contribution the New World made to the Old. Delia Smith, in her book "Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course", suggests that learning to cook potatoes so that they really taste like potatoes is one of the most important lessons in cooking. The plant contains the toxic alkaloids solanine and chaconine and most parts of the plant are poisonous; only the tubers are eaten and even those become poisonous if exposed to light long enough for the chlorophyll to develop and they start to turn green which is an indication of higher levels of the alkaloids. Potatoes should be stored in the dark at temperatures of 45-50F (7-10C). Potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C.

Here is a brief rough nutritional analysis you might find interesting:

One RAW POTATO WITHOUT SKIN, weighing 112 grams contains: 88  calories, 88.4 g water, 2.3 g protein, 20.1 g carbohydrates, 1.8 g dietary fiber, 0.1 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 monounsaturated fat, 0 polyunsaturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 22 mg Vitamin C. One 202-gram potato,

BAKED WITH SKIN, contains: 220 calories, 4.7 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 26 mg Vitamin C.

One 156-gram potato, BAKED WITHOUT SKIN, contains: 145 calories, 3.1 g protein, 33.6 g carbohydrates, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 20 mg Vitamin C.

One 135-gram potato, BOILED WITHOUT SKIN, contains: 116 calories, 2.3 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 10 mg Vitamin C.

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FareShare Fun Fact 4: Chocolate!

Some nutritional information (approximate):

28 grams (1 ounce) of unsweetened baking chocolate contains:  148 calories, 0.4g water, 2.9g protein, 8.0g carbohydrates, 4.4g dietary fiber, 15.7g fat, 9.2g saturated fat, 5.2g monounsaturated fat, 0.5g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 28IU Vitamin A, 1.4IU Vitamin E.

5 grams (1 tablespoon) of unsweetened dry cocoa powder contains:  11 calories, 0.2g water, 1g protein, 2.7g carbohydrates, 1.5g dietary fiber, 0.7g fat, 0.4g saturated fat, 0.2g monounsaturated fat, 0g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1IU Vitamin A.

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine is not as strong a stimulant as caffeine but it is toxic to dogs.

1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate contains about 30mg of caffeine which is about a third that contained in a cup of coffee. 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder contains about 20mg of caffeine.

Chocolate was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards in 1519. The word 'cocoa' comes from the Spanish word 'cacao' which is believed to be derived from 'kakawa', a word that may be about 3000 years old. The Aztec word for the chocolate drink they made was cacahuatl.

In 1564 Girolamo Benzoni stated in his 'History of the New World' that this drink was made by drying, roasting and grinding the cacao beans then mixing the resulting paste with water and occasionally flavoring it with chilli, flowers, vanilla, honey and achiote (aka annatto).

Linnaeus named the cacao tree 'Theobroma cacao'; the word theobroma is Greek for 'food of the gods'.

Natural cocoa powder, although having a strong chocolate taste, is also bitter, astringent and acid (about pH 5).

'Dutched' or alkalized cocoa comes from beans that have been treated with potassium carbonate which raises the pH from the acidic pH5 to either neutral (pH7) or alkaline (pH8).

This is important information for bakers because some recipes need the acid to react with baking soda and produce carbon dioxide for leavening and if you use dealkalized or Dutched cocoa in these recipes there will be no reaction with the baking soda and the taste will be alkaline and soapy. Cocoa beans also contain flavanols, which are an antioxidant that can increase blood flow to the brain, however the cocoa we normally find in stores has less flavanols as they were removed because they make the cocoa taste bitter.

Ian MacDonald of the University of Nottingham in England said that in tests given to women who were asked to do complex tasks, those who were given drinks of cocoa high in flavanols showed a significant increase in blood flow to the brain compared with those who did not drink the cocoa. Norman Hollenberg of Harvard Medical School said he found similar health benefits in the Cuna Indian tribe in Panama who drink cocoa exclusively; he also says there are no reported cases of dementia among these people. Several major chocolate companies have started promoting the flavanol content of their dark chocolates.

Thanks to Bobbie for suggesting chocolate as this week's topic and for providing some of the information. There is a section devoted to chocolate on our fareshare website. Good stuff! <G>

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FareShare Fun Fact 5: Tea

"You can taste and feel but not describe, the exquisite state of repose produced by tea, that precious drink which drives away the five causes of sorrow." - Emperor Chien Lung, Manchu Dynasty.

The tea family (Theaceae) includes 23 genera and 380 species of trees and shrubs, among which are the tea plant and the camellia. Tea, (Thea sinensis, syn. Camellia sinensis) is a native of Assam, India. There are about a thousand known varieties. Strictly speaking, only beverages made from this plant are called "tea"; all others, while often called herbal teas, are "tisanes".

Tea contains caffeine which, according to one source, may be the most widely consumed behaviour-modifying chemical in the world. Caffeine has different effects on the body; it stimulates the central nervous system, relieves drowsiness and fatigue, quickens reaction times and increases energy production in the muscles. No surprise then that in the 12th century, Buddhist monks in Japan valued tea as an aid to the long hours they spent in study. In the 17th century two Dutch physicians thought tea was an excellent medicine for practically every complaint; apparently one of them was so enthusiastic about the beverage he made his patients drink from 50 to 200 cups a day! On the negative side, high doses of caffeine can cause restlessness, nervousness, insomnia and can produce an abnormally fast heartbeat. BREWED tea contains less caffeine than BREWED coffee in spite of the fact that coffee beans have 1% to 2% and tea leaves have 2% to 3%, because a larger weight of coffee is extracted per cup. Tea contains approximately the same amount of caffeine as many cola beverages.

Wars have been fought over tea. The British were so desirous of the beverage that they paid the Chinese with opium in order to maintain a supply and when the Chinese rebelled against this practice the infamous Opium Wars erupted; eventually the British redirected their focus to tea production in their own colonies, particularly India.

Although fresh tea leaves taste bitter and astringent it is probable that originally the youngest and most tender leaves were chewed raw; however, about 2000 years ago people in China learned how to process tea in order to obtain a number of different flavours and colours. There are three major styles of tea: green tea, oolong tea and black tea. There are also other teas, much prized in many circles, such as: white tea; pu-erh (my husband calls this 'compost tea' because of its strong earthy flavour and aroma; one of our personal favourites when we can find good quality leaves); lapsang souchong (smoky); scented teas (scented with a variety of flower petals); gyokura, kabesucha and hoji-cha (specialty Japanese green teas).

When in Hong Kong a few years ago we found as many shops devoted to the  sale of tea as we would to wines in North America; we also discovered that the prices and qualities of the product were every bit as wide-ranging.  Fortunately we brought quite a bit back with us as we soon discovered it was extremely difficult to purchase an equivalent quality here (Canada and the U.S.). In fact, one Chinese friend told us that they generally consider the tea sold here, particularly that in tea bags, to be "floor sweepings". Wow!

For a more in depth look at tea you might wish to refer to one of my favourite foody reference books: On Food and Cooking, the science and lore of the kitchen, by Harold McGee.

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FareShare Fun Fact 6: Bananas and Plantains

Bananas and plantains (the 'funny looking' bananas; not the herb that belongs to a different family entirely) are members of the same family, Musaceae. This is a fairly large family of plants, some of which are strictly ornamental, like the Travellers Tree and the Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise), while others are an important food source. Varieties of Musa paradisiaca are the main edible bananas seen in most groceries. Musa nana or dwarf or Chinese banana is another one seen more often these days in North America markets than it used to be. Banana plants have been taken all over the world and while they are mainly grown in tropical regions there is at least one variety that has been grown as far north as southern British Columbia, Canada, (not in a hothouse; does bear fruit but is not grown commercially, at least as far as I know).

As with many plants that have become important to us, there is a large amount of folklore and numerous legends surrounding the banana. Many uses, aside from food, have been found for the various parts of the plant by people of many countries: roof material, containers for food and water,  fibers for clothing, medicines, animal feed, decoration. One type of banana has starchy edible underground stems.

Bananas do not grow on trees; they grow on tall herbaceous plants, often in  clumps. Each plant will have one flower stem, which slowly bends over and hangs down, from which it produces one stem which may contain as many as 300 individual bananas, after doing this that plant dies. Reproduction is by shoots that spring up around the base of the plant. Strictly speaking, bananas and plantains are seedless berries. The longer bananas are curved because the tip of the fruit grows upward against the force of gravity.

Both bananas and plantains store their energy as starch which is converted to sugar as they ripen. Bananas undergo quite an amazing change: the starch-to-sugar ratio of a mature but unripe banana is 25 to 1; this changes to 1-to-20 in the ripe fruit, meaning that their sugar content becomes about 20%. By comparison, the sugar content of a ripe plantain is about 6%. Although they are closely related and in fact, their names are often used interchangeably, the name banana is generally used to refer to the sweeter dessert variety. You may come across references to 'cooking' bananas which mostly means those that are not as sweet and are usually cooked before eating. Plantains keep their starchy nature and can be cooked in much the same manner as potatoes. Both have a defensive feature that  causes them to produce brown spots in the unripe fruit but once ripe they can be stored in the refrigerator and although the skins will turn black the fruit inside will stay white.

One raw medium size banana weighing 114 grams contains approximately: 105 calories; 84.7 g water; 1.2 g protein; 26.7 g carbohydrates; 1.8 g dietary fiber; 0.6 g fat; 92 IU Vitamin A; 10 mg Vitamin C; 451 mg potassium; 22 mg phosphorus.

One cup of cooked plantain slices weighing 154 grams contains approximately: 179 calories; 103.6 g water; 1.2 g protein; 48.0 g carbohydrates; 1400 IU Vitamin A; 17 mg Vitamin C; 716 mg potassium; 43 mg phosphorus.

More Banana Monkey Business:

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on:

Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!  (See Below)

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power:
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school in England were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness:
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites:
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:
Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use:
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!


Banana, raw, edible parts
Nutritional value per 100g (3.5 oz)
Energy 90 kcal, 370 kJ
Carbohydrates 22.84 g
- Sugars 12.23 g
- Dietary fiber 2.6 g
Fat 0.33 g
Protein 1.09 g
Vitamin A equiv. 3 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.031 mg
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.073 mg
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.665 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.334 mg
Vitamin B6 0.367 mg
Folate (Vit. B9) 20 g
Vitamin C 8.7 mg
Calcium 5 mg
Iron 0.26 mg
Magnesium 27 mg
Phosphorus 22 mg
Potassium 358 mg
Zinc 0.15 mg

One banana is 100150 g.

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe it's time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa

Contributed to the FareShare Gazette by Art; 15 October 2009.


I love it when a post stimulates a thread! I should have expected the statement, "Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!" would elicit some questions. And I should have researched the statement before I posted it. My Bad! So here is what I have found:

From Colorado State University Extension Service:

"Bananas: Avoid grayish-yellow fruit that indicates a chilling injury; a banana with this coloring may never ripen correctly. Ripen at room temperature and refrigerate when the banana reaches the stage of ripeness that you prefer. The skin will darken in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not."

In other words, the banana won't ripen in the refrigerator. However, if it has reached a nice, ripe stage, the ripening process can be delayed if it is refrigerated. The skin will darken -- but it won't become poisonous or toxic.

Chiquita and other informative websites confirm this:

To slow the ripening process once bananas reach your preferred ripeness, put them in the refrigerator. The skin may turn dark, but the fruit will be just right, firm and delicious, for several days. Back in 1940s, consumers would typically bring home green bananas and put them in the refrigerator which kept them from ripening properly. That is when Chiquita created a
jingle advising against refrigeration.

The peels will change to a dark color that might be unappetizing, but the fruit inside will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.

Some other guidance:

Leave your bananas in a closed paper bag at room temperature if they are not yet ripe. You can place an apple in the bag to speed ripening. The apple gives off ethylene gas, which causes fruit to ripen. Once bananas become ripe - that is, yellow in color, speckled with a bit of brown - put
them in your refrigerator, preferably at a temperature of about 50F (10C). You can store them this way for up to 2 weeks.

Green bananas simply will not ripen properly in the refrigerator and bringing refrigerated bananas back to room temperature will not reverse the process.

Other banana thoughts:

Once cut, sprinkle bananas with citrus juice to stop them from browning too quickly.

You can also peel bananas, cut them in chunks, freeze them and eat them as a frozen treat, reminiscent of ice cream. You can also take those frozen chunks and make a very creamy smoothie using fat free rice milk or soy milk and a little flavoring.

Contributed to the FareShare Gazette by Art; 19 October 2009.


Thanks to Art for all the info on bananas. One last tip, be sure to wash them with a good non-toxic cleaner, like Simple Green, or Bio-Green. [Many hands touch your bananas before yours do.] You never know where the hands have been before they handled your bananas.

Contributed to the FareShare Gazette by Lois; 17 October 2009.


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FareShare Fun Fact 7: Flavoured Alcohols

The chemistry of alcohol makes it suitable for flavouring with flowers, fruits, herbs, nuts and spices which can be either soaked in the alcohol or distilled with it. Here are some examples:

Abricot - apricots
Advocaat - (Dutch) brandy, eggs
Amaretto - almonds
Anisette - anise
Aquavit - caraway seeds
Araq - anise
Boukha - figs
Calvados - apple
Cassis - black currants
Chartreuse - distilled herbs gathered in Alpine regions
Cointreau - orange
Creme de Cacao - chocolate
Creme de menthe - mint
Curacao - orange
Drambui - Scotch whiskey, honey and herbs
Framboise - raspberry
Frangelico - hazelnuts
Gin - juniper berries and other spices often including coriander
Grand Marnier - orange
Kahlua - coffee
Kirsch - cherry
Kislav - watermelon
Kummel - caraway seeds
Limoncello - lemon
Midori - melon
Mirabelle - plum
Nocino - green walnuts
Ouzo - anise
Peppermint schnapps - mint
Pernod - anise
Poire Williams - pear
Quetsch - plum
Raki - anise
Sambuca - elderflowers
Slivovitz - plum
Sloe "gin" - plum
Southern Comfort - bourbon whiskey, peach brandy, peaches
Tia Maria - coffee
Triple Sec - orange
Van der Hum - orange

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FareShare Fun Fact 8: Papaya

Euell Gibbons, in his Beachcomber's Handbook (without which I would hate to be marooned on a desert island - the book, I mean <G>) wrote that he considered few fruits more delicious than a "firm but sweet papaya bathed lightly in lime juice".

This member of the Caricaceae family, Carica papaya, which is known by several different 'common' names including: papaya, pawpaw, mikana, milikana, papaia and he'i, is a native of tropical America. As an example of why common names can cause confusion, in the U.S. the name pawpaw refers to a different plant entirely, the Asimina triloba (which has small globular brownish fruits), while in several other countries the name 'pawpaw' refers to what the Americans call the 'papaya'. Yay for botanical names! All that having been said however, for the purposes of this article I will call a papaya a papaya (at least until one falls on my head).

A single tree may have as many as 50 fruit in different stages of growth, some 20 inches long and weighing as much as 20 pounds each. The papaya ripens from the center; as it ripens it gets softer. This change causes the fruit to become more aromatic; it also to tastes sweeter, even though the sugar content stays the same, because the sugars release more easily from the softer fruit. The dried seeds can be ground and used as a slightly mustardy seasoning.

Green papayas, which contain more of the protein-digesting enzyme papain than the ripe fruit, are used in salads and pickles. The presence of this enzyme also means that papaya can't be made into a jelly unless it is cooked. Centuries ago peoples in Latin America used to wrap bruised papaya leaves around meat in order to tenderize it.

There are other species of papaya that can be found in stores; two of them are: (a) Carica pubescens, which is larger and not as sweet but is richer in papain and carotenoid pigments; and (b) Carica pentagono (babaco) which is a hybrid with tart, cream-coloured, seedless flesh.

According to one of my favourite nutritional reference books: 1 medium raw papaya weighing 304 grams contains approximately: 117 calories, 270g water, 1.9g protein, 29.8g carbohydrates, 2.8g dietary fiber, 6122IU Vitamin A, 188mg Vitamin C, 72mg calcium, 780mg potassium.

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FareShare Fun Fact 9: Yams or Sweet Potatoes?

I yam what I yam - or am I a sweet potato? Hmmmmmm.

Well it appears that if I am a member of the Dioscorea family I am a true yam; however, if I am an 'American' yam I am really a sweet potato and a member of the morning glory family (Ipomoea). Still confused? <G>

Yam; Dioscorea species; several members of this family have large edible starchy tubers which can weigh 100 pounds and there is some evidence that they may have been cultivated in Asia as long ago as 8000BCE.

Boiled or baked yam in the amount of 58 grams (1/2 cup of cubes) contains approximately: 79 calories; 47.7 g water; 1 g protein; 18.8 g carbohydrates; 0.1 g fat; no cholesterol; 0 Vitamin A; 8 mg Vitamin C.

Sweet potato; Ipomoea batata; incorrectly called a yam in a marketing campaign in the 1930's.

One sweet potato BAKED WITH SKIN in the amount of 114 grams contains approximately: 118 calories; 83 g water; 2 g protein; 27.7 g carbohydrates; 3.4 g dietary fiber; 0.1 g fat; 24877 IU Vitamin A; 28 mg Vitamin C.

One sweet potato BOILED WITHOUT SKIN in the amount of 164 grams (1/2 cup mashed) contains approximately: 172 calories; 119.5 g water; 2.7 g protein; 39.8 g carbohydrates; 0.5 g fat; 27968 IU Vitamin A; 28 mg Vitamin C.

Sweet potatoes should not be stored at temperatures below 55F (13C); when they are exposed to cold temperatures their centers may stay hard, even when cooked, so don't keep them in the refrigerator or a cold storage room. Most of them get sweeter during cooking. There are several varieties with some being dry and starchy and others being moist and sweet. The popular dark orange variety contains high quantities of beta-carotene.

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FareShare Fun Fact 10: Sandwiches

The popular story about how a sandwich came to be called a sandwich is that the Earl of Sandwich got hungry while gambling but didn't want to interrupt his game so he told the server to bring him a couple of slices of bread and butter with something between them. The definition of a sandwich given in my copy of New Larousse Gastronomique is: foodstuff composed of two slices of buttered bread with some edible substance between. Doris McFerran Townsend in her "The 1,000 Fabulous Sandwiches Cookbook" (1965) says that there are two kinds of sandwiches - bad and good; according to her way of thinking the bad one consists of two slices of bread with a slab of meat or some leftovers slapped in between them while a good one is the product of time and effort as is all good cooking. (I reckon that might depend on how hungry you are, what ingredients are available, how much time you have and whether or not you just love a slab of cold roast whatever between two slices of buttered bread.) Larousse states that it has long been the custom in the French countryside to give workers in the fields meals consisting of meat between two pieces of wholemeal or black bread and in the southwest parts of France to provide people setting out on a journey with meat (mostly pork and veal) between two pieces of bread.

Then there is the definition in one of my dictionaries: sandwich - noun - [after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, (1718-1792), said to have eaten these in order not to leave the gaming table for meals] 1. two or more slices of bread with a filling of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables etc. between them. 2. anything like a sandwich in arrangement. verb form - to place or squeeze between two other persons, places or things.

There is an interesting paragraph at the beginning of the chapter on sandwiches in my old copy of 'The New Cook Book' of 1905 which I will quote here: "The good housekeeper is never at a loss for sandwich-filling. If her larder is depleted of meat, she turns to eggs; if the hens are not complaisant, there is still the worthy cheese, the goodly cucumber, the crisp lettuce, the homely cress. Marmalade jam and jelly are generally to be secured and honey is not always inaccessible. In short, the sandwich is a joy forever in the subtleness of its interior. Beautiful effects may be secured in coloring, pink, yellow, green and red sandwiches being very easily arranged. For a crimson sandwich there is mashed beetroot, for a vermilion shade tomato catsup, for a deep or lighter yellow, pounded cheese or egg yolks, and for green, lettuce, cress, parsley and pistachio nuts. Salmon sandwiches or minced ham are pink and cream cheese white. The lot may be combined in rainbow effect with great success. Of course one-day old bread of fine, firm texture is the first consideration. The best of butter, a little softened so as to spread perfectly, and the most careful cutting into shape and size exactly."

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FareShare Fun Fact 11:  The Amazing Cucumber

This information was in The New York Times several weeks ago as part of their "Spotlight on the Home" series that highlighted creative and fanciful ways to solve common problems.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free.  Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD-40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints?  Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Contributed to the FareShare Gazette by Bobbie
who got it from Mary Spero
who got it from the New York Times 
and, as usual, FareShare does not
guarantee the accuracy of this information;
29 October 2009.

---> Another bit of information that might interest you is the fact that cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) is a member of the squash family that was originally domesticated in India around 1500BCE. It is one of those fruits that is most commonly used as a vegetable. The acid content drops as the cucumber grows in size and the sugar content increases, although it never does actually get particularly sweet. The bitterness found in American slicing cucumbers, which is mainly found at the stem end and just under the skin, is due to defensive chemicals that are present mainly to discourage pests. H.

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